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The Black Hills Are Everything!

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The Black Hills used to be occupied by the Crow Tribe.  That was way back, like in the 1700's, even the 1600's.  Then, the Black Hills were taken by the Shahiyela (the Cheyenne).  Then, the Lakota took them from the Cheyenne.  Finally, the white man took them from the Lakota.


The Lakota look at the Black Hills as having spiritual power.  All the Plains Tribes look at them that way.  But the white man saw only the yellow rock called gold.  They tried to make deals to get the land in the Treaties of 1825, 1851, 1868, and even the Bradley Bill of the 1980's. 


However, the only Treaty that should be recognized concerning the Black Hills is the Treaty of 1851.  At that time, all the tribes signed this Treaty and they signed it in a holy way.  The Lakota brought the Sacred White Buffalo Calf C'anunpa, the Cheyenne brought their 7 sacred arrows, and the Crow, Arikara, and other tribes brought their sacred bundles.


They all held ceremonies before they held the pen.  They all agreed that no settlers should enter that sacred area, the Black Hills.  The way that Treaty was written, this became a non-negotiable matter from that time on.  No other Treaty would have the right to change that.


But the government and homesteaders, the settlers and prospectors kept invading the Black Hills.


As a result, the Federal Government renegotiated the terms and called it the Fort Laramie 1868 Treaty.  This time, the original signers of the 1851 Treaty didn't want to sign.  Many were fighting.  There were no sacred ceremonies done and only one sacred c'anunpa, only one sacred prayer pipe, was present. 


The prospectors and homesteaders brought in whiskey to get many of the signers drunk so they would sign.  My grandfather told me all about this.  He saw it, personally.  Mni wakan, sacred water, is what the Lakota called alcohol because it affected our people so strongly.


So this is how we lost the Black Hills.

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Stephanie M. Schwartz Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I am a 62 year old female Freelance Writer and Editor and Member of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA). I live in Firestone, Colorado and specialize in Native American and Indigenous Issues, particularly those pertaining to Lakota (more...)
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